Aerial photos from 1945 compared to 2023 are revealing the extent to which the North East has changed in 78 years - take a look at your area below.

Have you ever wondered what your area looked like during the second world war? Aerial photos that were taken at the time are now showing the extent to which the region has changed.

Whether it's new motorways, housing estates or shopping centres, the region has certainly transformed in ways we can truly see now.

Read more: County Durham and Darlington from above in 1945 vs 2023

Here are some aerial photos of towns and areas from across County Durham – what are the biggest differences you can notice?

Make sure to use the sliders on each image to move them across, revealing the differences between then and now.

Newton Aycliffe

Newton Aycliffe has undergone a huge transformation from 1945, as this image was taken two years before the town was founded in 1947.

Prior to this, the area was filled with fields and farmland before it became the sprawling town it is today.

Another noticeable feature is the A1 motorway, which can be seen to the left of the image in the 2023 scan to the left of Preston-le-Skerne.


The first foundations of housing estates in Seaham can be spotted in the 1945 photo, with estates in Deneside and East Lea and North Lea beginning to take shape.

The left of the photo also now shows where the A19 passes by the seaside town, with some of the farmland pictured in 1945 still being used for farming reasons today.

Bishop Auckland

Despite the development and a boom in industry to the south of the town, Bishop Auckland has managed to remain green and rural since these photographs were taken in 1945.

However, a large chunk of the centre of the town is now home to housing developments heading towards Tindale Crescent.

Etherley Dene and Etherley Moor have transformed from used farmland to now hold multiple housing estates.


The beginnings of Ferryhill are evident after the town experienced a boom due to the coal mining industry before the final mine in the town closed in 1968.

Estates in Dean Bank and in the centre of the town had already taken shape by 1945, but the east of the town was left as farmland.

Now, east Ferryhill is home to multiple housing estates yet has still retained a sizeable amount of green space for leisure.

Read next:

Get more from The Northern Echo with a Premium Plus Digital Subscription for as little as £1.50 a week. Click here.

Barnard Castle

Barnard Castle is perhaps the area that has changed least since 1945.

Whilst housing has of course boomed around the centre of the town, the woods that surround it are unchanged, as well as much of the farming land to the west of the town.

Startforth is one of the only areas in this photograph that has seen mass development, with it now being home to HMP Deerbolt that was constructed in 1973 as well as a small housing estate.